Wet Meadows & Wetlands Planting Guide

Wet meadow & wetland sites have soils made up of clay and high organic matter, with high water tables or impervious layers that prevent drainage. They are wet most of the time. Examples of wet meadows include roadside ditches, retention basins that catch run-off water, pond areas or wetland edges. Wetland examples include newly created wetlands and wetland restoration sites, retention basins with wetland functions, floodplains, pond edges and open water or wet bioremediation sites.

HABITAT

Varies from partial shade to full sun; requires wet or saturated soil, standing water or a high water table; generally occupied with OBL, FACW and FAC species.

FERTILITY

Due to the potential for water contamination, lime and fertilizer are not recommended; however, we do recommend the addition of organic matter (compost) when topsoil has been depleted or removed. Check your soil pH and select species adapted to that pH.

SEEDING METHOD

Hand seed, broadcast seed, hydroseed or drill seed when the water table is drawn down. It is not practical to seed any wetland when the water is more than 2” deep or where severe flooding is likely to occur before germination. The same caution applies to mulching. Natural seed banks (seeds in wetland soils) often establish part of the vegetative cover.

SITE PREPARATION

Eradicate existing invasive vegetation by having a licensed spray technician apply an approved herbicide, such as glyphosate (Rodeo®), triclopyr (Garlon® 3A) or other aquatic herbicide formulation, to control undesirable vegetation, such as multiflora rose, honeysuckle and woody species.

CAUTION: Some persistent species, such as purple loosestrife, phragmites or reed canarygrass, may need multiple applications of glyphosate or triclopyr. Perennial weeds not addressed before establishment will be more difficult to remove later. The soil is often too wet to till.

Newly constructed wetlands, retention basins and wet construction sites should be seeded as soon after construction as possible. Leaving the surface rough by creating mounds and kettles for an undulating microtopography can be very beneficial in obligate wetlands.

 

GROWING SEASON MAINTENANCE

First Growing Season

  • When feasible (the ground isn’t too slippery or mucky to safely walk), post-planting maintenance will provide the best results for wet meadows and wetlands. Whenever canopy (overall vegetation) reaches a height of 18”-24”, use a string trimmer to trim the meadow to a height of 8”. This will reduce competition by fast-growing weeds for sunlight and nutrients needed by slow-growing perennial natives. Mowing should cease by mid-September.
  • Problem weeds should be hand pulled or spot sprayed with an approved aquatic herbicide (such as Rodeo® or Garlon® 3A).

Second Growing Season

  • Problem weeds, such as phragmites, reed canarygrass and purple loosestrife, should be hand pulled or spot sprayed with an approved aquatic herbicide (such as Rodeo® or Garlon® 3A).

DISCLAIMER: The information in this review of practices is the result of more than 50 years of experience in seed production. Ernst Conservation Seeds has been supplying seeds and consulting in the reseeding of tens of thousands of acres of roadsides, surfacemined lands, conservation and restoration sites in eastern North America, as well as growing and supplying seed and consulting in the planting of hundreds of thousands of acres of CRP/CREP-related areas for erosion control and wildlife habitat. All of these practices are opinion only and our best advice as a result of these experiences. These recommendations do not cover all of the conditions that will be encountered in the field. All of the information is for individual consideration. Ernst Conservation Seeds is not responsible for conditions that will be encountered in individual situations. The use of brand names does not represent our endorsement of a specific product; rather, it represents our experience only and has not necessarily been replicated in peer-reviewed research. The use of chemical pest control agents is subject to manufacturers’ instructions and labeling, as well as federal, state and local regulations.

Wet Meadows & Wetlands Seed Mixes

The following mixes are good for vegetating disturbed or man-made wetlands. The species in these mixes provide food and/or cover for insects, birds and mammals.

MD Upper Midland OBL Mix

Item #: ERNMX-714 Cost: $90.90/lb
Categories:
Description: Mix formulations are subject to change without notice depending on the availability of existing and new products. While the formula may change, the guiding philosophy and function of the mix will not. ()

MD Lower Midland FACW Mix

Item #: ERNMX-723 Cost: $54.02/lb
Categories:
Description: Mix formulations are subject to change without notice depending on the availability of existing and new products. While the formula may change, the guiding philosophy and function of the mix wil not. ()

MD Lower Midland OBL Mix

Item #: ERNMX-724 Cost: $90.23/lb
Categories:
Description: Mix formulations are subject to change without notice depending on the availability of existing and new products. While the formula may change, the guiding philosophy and function of the mix will not. ()

MD Coastal Plain FACW Mix

Item #: ERNMX-733 Cost: $63.22/lb
Categories:
Description: Mix formulations are subject to change without notice depending on the availability of existing and new products. While the formula may change, the guiding philosophy and function of the mix will not. ()

MD Coastal Plain Freshwater OBL Mix

Item #: ERNMX-734 Cost: $81.42/lb
Categories:
Description: Mix formulations are subject to change without notice depending on the availability of existing and new products. While the formula may change, the guiding philosophy and function of the mix will not. ()

VA Northern Piedmont FACW Mix

Item #: ERNMX-855 Cost: $64.47/lb
Categories:
Description: Mix formulations are subject to change without notice depending on the availability of existing and new products. While the formula may change, the guiding philosophy and function of the mix will not. ()

VA Southern Piedmont FACW Mix

Item #: ERNMX-865 Cost: $49.55/lb
Categories:
Description: Mix formulations are subject to change without notice depending on the availability of existing and new products. While the formula may change, the guiding philosophy and function fo the mix will not. ()

VA Southern Piedmont Steep Slope Mix

Item #: ERNMX-866 Cost: $20.41/lb
Categories:
Description: This pollinator-friendly mix provides food and cover for wildlife. Mix forumulations are subject to change without notice depending on the availability of existing and new products. While the formula may change, the guiding philosophy and function of the mix will not. ()

VA Northern Coastal Plain FACW Mix

Item #: ERNMX-875 Cost: $49.07/lb
Categories:
Description: Mix formulations are subject to change without notice depending on the availability of existing and new products. While the formula may change, the guiding philosophy and function of the mix will not. ()

VA Outer Coastal Plain FACW Mix

Item #: ERNMX-895 Cost: $45.66/lb
Categories:
Description: Mix formulations are subject to change without notice depending on the availability of existing and new products. While the formula may change, the guiding philosophy and function of the mix will not. ()

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